Quantum7 Central To Player Immersion In Spectator-lite Nba

The NBA’s 2019-2020 season looked set to be one of the most exciting yet. However, it was interrupted on March 11 by the COVID-19-induced sports shutdown, just before its Playoff series was to begin in April. Instead, the NBA reformatted its season, with teams playing the remaining regular-season games, Playoffs and Finals on three courts in the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida from July 30 through October 13. 

All of these games feature court sound done in a way as never before. Each venue has two sound systems: one aimed at the court, and the other at the audience. The court system is designed to immerse the NBA players in crowd and live venue sounds to emulate their traditional experience. This system is mixed through a DiGiCo Quantum7 console in each of the WWoS’s three venues: the Arena, the main national-telecast court and site of Conference Finals and NBA Finals; the HP Field House court, used for the regular season to Second Round; and the Visa Athletic Center, used for games broadcast exclusively by regional sports networks.  

“It’s a beast,” says Firehouse Productions Vice President Mark Dittmar, referring to the Quantum7, “and that’s an understatement.” The consoles—three DiGiCo SD7 desks each updated with new Quantum engines—are the hubs for all of the audio elements that are feeding these courts. Those elements include over 1,500 individual audio clips such as cheers, boos, and other reaction sounds. These are stored on media servers and collected from a variety of authentic sources, including originally produced content, foley, and content provided by the teams and the league. In addition, the Quantum7 creates a 5.1 version of the audience sounds that is sent to broadcast for on-air use. 

Dittmar says the Quantum7 assigned to the Arena was the first to be programmed and became the template for the other two Quantum7 desks. “Once we got all of our basic relative levels set there, the only mixing that’s done is on the systems that the people controlling these crowd and other sound effects are using during the games,” he explains. “The DiGiCos then become these big, reliable routers that are used for the live sound for the entire season.” 

The identical configuration of each console means that any of Firehouse Productions’ A1s can move between the venues and sit at a console where they know immediately where each I/O—and there are nearly 160 inputs in each venue feeding about 56 outputs—is assigned. “Every mixer will have the exact same experience,” he adds. “And that’s a huge advantage that that keeps the sound very consistent from game to game.” 

The Quantum7 consoles, and the three 32-bit I/O-equipped SD-Racks the three desks uses receive from, feed L-Acoustics PA systems in each venue, whose sound is focused on the field of play. The Arena system comprises 60 L-Acoustics K2 loudspeakers configured as 10 hangs of six enclosures each, buttressed by a dozen L-Acoustics KS28 subs, with a slightly smaller PA deployed in the Visa and HP venues. 

But the consoles are more than massive routers. Dittmar points out that the Quantum7 desks also provide monitor input to the mixers handling the crowd sounds and sound effects, and they additionally deliver a discrete 5.1-surround feed to the broadcast compound. “The Quantum7s reliably handle a huge workflow,” he says. And the consoles’ features are also making their presence felt, providing the slots for the Dante cards that are taking in the audio from those submixers, 10 channels each from three laptop sources per venue. 

“No other console that I know of can handle that kind of huge input load,” says Dittmar. “It’s an awesome tool for a project with such scope. These are extremely high channel counts feeding a unique PA system for a major-league sports event that’s never been done before. Thanks to DiGiCo for helping us achieve such brilliant results.”

CONTACT

DiGiCo: digico.biz
Australian Distributor: grouptechnologies.com.au

The post Quantum7 Central to Player Immersion in Spectator-lite NBA appeared first on AudioTechnology.

Batflowers: How Washington’s new album bloomed from isolation

For any artist to be so prolific during one of the most creatively neutering times in recent memory is quite a commendable feat –  for Washington, of course, it’s just another day at the office.
 
“When lockdown happened I was like ‘what the fuck am I going to do?’,” she confesses. “I don’t know about you, but every person I know who’s a legitimate artist started creating the minute we all went into lockdown. All the people who are entertainers were like ‘oh no, we can’t play shows anymore!’ and the artists were like ‘who cares?’ Because we’ll just make more shit.
 
“As one of those people, I was like ‘oh my god, I have to make stuff’, because for people who really enjoy music and find solace and joy in it, this is their portal to their happy place. I need to fucking do my job and make music for them, because they’re in lockdown in JobKeeper, and it’s shit.”
 
From the pulsating opening title track through to the jaunty closer ‘Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die’, Batflowers is an astonishing product of unbridled inspiration. Each song is connected to one another by a series of dense thematic threads, with Washington’s distinctive voice soaring atop of a bedrock of intricate productions.
 

 
“I really thought about layers with the songwriting for this album because obviously there were a few key tracks, but it was more just a key concept that I wanted to explore,” Washington says, pinpointing the lyrical themes that underpin album opener ‘Batflowers’ and penultimate highlight ‘Achilles Heart.’ 
 
“They’re the things you just hear in the lyrics returning over and over again. You can see that in the titles of some songs buried as lyrics in other songs. It’s all kind of cross-contaminated on purpose – it’s not like I could only think of five ideas!”
 
The intricate and interconnected nature of Batflowers is only bolstered further through Washington’s eagle eye for detail, with the Brisbane-based artist taking on an executive role in the creative direction, engineering and rollout of the record. Washington draws comparisons with her executive process to artists like Kanye West, Caroline Polacheck and The 1975, with each going out of their way to create the most immersive and theatrical listening experience as possible by commandeering all creative aspects of their album rollout. 
 
“When people say theatrical, all they really mean is ‘you made an effort’,” she muses. “What they mean is you did the bare fucking minimum, and thought about ‘what will we wear, what will we say, how will we say it’. 
 
“For me, it comes from watching the rollout of albums from people like Moses Sumney and even Dua Lipa in her own way, but also people like Caroline Polacheck and Sia. The 1975 have a really similar relationship to music as me, which is basically whatever it is, they have to be the boss of all of it. I really relate to that.”
 
A large chunk of Batflowers’ charm comes down to its atmospheric sound palate – itself a clear indicator of Washington’s creative direction. The album features contributions from a number of contemporary heavy-hitters, including John Congleton (Moses Sumney, Angel Olsen), Dave Hammer (Jess Kent, Genesis Owusu) and Japanese Wallpaper, whose trademark twinkling synths work in tandem with Washington’s stellar voice on ‘Lazarus Drug’ to take the album to dizzying heights.
 
Other collaborators include Sam Fischer and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, who recorded the drums for standout single ‘Dark Parts’ – a murky pop number recorded in the unconventional meter of 7/8 – from her Joshua Tree studio. Despite the diverse background of each collaborator on Batflowers, Washington puts her executive decisions behind forming the sound of the record down to one prime motivator. 
 
“When we went into lockdown, I just kind of thought of all these people and was like hypothetically, if it was the end of the world and you wanted to make an album, who would you call? So I just called all my favourite people and people that I wanted to make music with.”
 
Pieced together from all corners of the world via email, Batflowers is by all means a testament to the power of modern communications, with Washington extolling the virtues of remote collaboration through digital networks as an incredibly liberating creative tool. She reveals that through learning to engineer her own vocals, she’s become increasingly independent in the studio, which has in itself has presented her with an exciting new way to approach her songwriting – so much so, in fact, that she’s even working on her next album right now.
 
“I no longer need to write with the engineers in the room. I can just engineer my shit myself, and just send it to people like Sam Dixon or John Congleton, who then like actually produce it,” she says. “I don’t have to do any of that shit now, which is great, because it’s so much more freeing. Now, I don’t have to sit at the piano or the guitar, I can literally just sit at my computer and dream it up.”
 
From her ascension to local pop stardom in the early 2010s through to her work with ABC TV’s Bluey and Warwick Thornton’s documentary series The Beach, it’s fair to say that Washington is a creative powerhouse in every sense of the word, and her frustration with the media’s malignment of her medium is strikingly evident. To her, art has emerged as the saving grace of our new reality – isolated from the world around us, it’s really all we can do to keep mattering as a whole. 
 
“Like Nietzsche said, ‘we have art in order not to die of the truth’, and I think it’s really funny that all those newspapers are saying that the number one most redundant or non-essential worker are artists,” Washington scoffs. “What a pile of shit! Everyone’s just watching Netflix all day, or listening to the radio or the news or whatever. We need the media, but the media aren’t artists; they’re journalists and that’s a different thing.
 
“People need us, they’re bored sideways. The last time the world needed art so much, it was the fucking war. I just felt like there was this absolute galvanising energy with a lot of my friends when this happened and we felt like we just had to do what we do more urgently, because otherwise what are people going to listen to? TikTok songs?”
 

 
Batflowers is out now via Island Records Australia.

Faith Blood Moon Neptune Acoustic Guitar Giveaway

Thanks to our good friends at CMC Music, we’ve got one of these amazing acoustic guitars – valued at $1995 and including a custom hardshell case – to give away to one lucky reader. 
 
To win, first you’ll need to find the answers to these two questions:
 
1. What year did Faith Guitars win their first Music Industries Award for the United Kingdom’s Best Acoustic Guitar?
 
2. What year did the Faith Blood Moon series win the MIA Award for Best Acoustic Guitar in the UK?
 

 
Once you’ve located both answers (hint: you can find them here and here!), enter them into the field below with your name and email address, then you’re in it to win it!
 

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What year did Faith win their first Music Industries Award for the UK’s Best Acoustic Guitar?
What year did the Faith Blood Moon series win the MIA Award for Best Acoustic Guitar in the UK?

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Please note: all giveaways are only available to our Australian readers. By entering, you agree to receive marketing collateral from Mixdown and competition partners.
 
This competition will run from Tuesday September 1 through to Sunday November 1, and winners will be notified via email within three days of competition closure.
 

 
Faith Guitars can be purchased from these Australian dealers: 
A&B Musical Instruments
Angkor Music International
Bass N Blues
Beat of the Shire
Birdwood Guitar Company
Derringers Music
Gold Coast Music
Green Brothers
Gsus4 Music
H Music
Haworth Guitars
Ivanhoe Music
Mammoth Music
Manhattan Music
Marban Music
Music Express
Music Park
Port Lincoln Music World
Prestige Musical Instruments
Revolution Music
Riffs and Licks Music
Good luck!